Hair Growth after Chemotherapy

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Losing your hair during chemotherapy treatment can be distressing. It may feel like you are losing a part of your identity. It is no wonder, then, that many dread this side effect of cancer treatment the most. As chemotherapy is such a strong medication, it doesn’t just cause hair loss on the head – other parts of the body are also affected, including eyelashes, eyebrows and armpit hair.

Typically, hair loss following chemotherapy treatment is temporary. If you have just finished your rounds of chemotherapy therapy, you may be curious to know what happens to your hair growth now. How soon will it begin to grow back? Will it look and feel the same as before? We are going to explore the critical questions you might be asking yourself, as well as providing you with a few haircare tips to help you along the way.

When Will My Hair Begin To Regrow?

Once you finish chemotherapy treatment, your hair will begin to regrow within a few weeks. Around 3-4 weeks after ending treatment, you can expect to see hair growth that looks like soft, fuzzy strands. Generally, eyelashes tend to grow back quite quickly after chemotherapy. For some it is pretty immediate, for others it may take a few weeks – everyone is different.

How Long Will It Take To Grow Back?

It can take around 3-6 months for hair to begin to grow, rather than the soft fuzz that it starts as. You can expect roughly 1 inch of hair growth after around 2 months but again, each person is different and each chemotherapy treatment has different strengths which can affect how quickly you see regrowth.

Will My Hair Look The Same As Before?

Your new hair growth may look slightly different. You may notice it is a different colour, feels a little thinner, or that your previous straight hair is now curly! Hair follicles can change shape during chemotherapy treatment and become slightly twisted, resulting in curly or wavy strands. This tends to only last for a few months, after which your hair should begin to regain its previous texture and shape.

In some cases, people may find their hair never regains the same thickness or fullness as before so it is important to not be alarmed if this happens to you. It is also completely normal for your hair to grow back in patches, which can make you feel a little frustrated. In most cases, this is only temporary as it takes time for your body’s nutrients to kick back into gear and give hair growth a boost.

Top Tips During Regrowth

• Redraw Your Eyebrows Whilst They Regrow
Look back at pre-treatment pictures of yourself to use your brows’ natural shape as a guide. You may wish to use a brow pencil that is slightly lighter than your current hair colour for the most natural look.

• Looking After Your Luscious Lashes
As eyelashes regrow, it is important to be really gentle. Lashes can be fragile as they regrow so be extra gentle when cleansing your eye area and avoid wearing mascaras that are heavy or waterproof as these require a bit more grit to remove at the end of the day.

To give the appearance of a stronger lash line, using a soft kohl liner that is easy to remove. Using brown shades of eyeshadow along the lash line is also a quick way to create the illusion of fullness.

You may also be considering using fake eyelashes. These are definitely an option, however you do need to be careful that the eyelash glue doesn’t irritate you. Wearing these every day might not be the most ideal thing and may be best worn at any parties or events you have planned.

Some people also swear by eyelash growth serums to encourage thicker and longer regrowth after a few weeks.

• Protect Your New Hair
New regrowth will be particularly delicate. Avoid dying it at this point until it becomes stronger and use gentle products when washing your hair, such as sulphate-free shampoos, which will also be gentle on your scalp.

You may want to rock the new growth look, or you might feel more confident wearing a wig whilst your new hair regrows long enough to begin styling it. Wigs can be a great choice for this in-between period and can even protect your new hairs as they regrow.

It is worth bearing in mind that everyone is different and the timeline for regrowth can vary. If you are concerned about lack of hair growth, always speak to your GP so they can advise and support you. Whatever texture or density you find your new hair to have, remember that your body has been through a lot and it may take time for your hair to recover. During this time, it’s important to give yourself lots of self-love, soothing words and some lovely doses of rest!